Francophiles will cheer “Vive la France” when the California Philharmonic Orchestra presents its “Bastille Day” concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on July 14.
Cal Phil Founder and Music Director Dr. Victor Vener will conduct a feast of French music – Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No.3 in C minor Op. 78 “Organ Symphony,” Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique and selections from “Les Misérables” by Alan Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.
The concert begins at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 14, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012. The orchestra’s ever popular “Talks With the Maestro” chats with Dr. Vener take place at 1 p.m. in BP Hall. Tickets range from $37.50 to $140 with subscriptions ranging from$33 to $122.50, all available at www.calphil.com and (323) 850-2000. Groups of 10 or more may call (323) 850-2050. Box office hours are Tuesday-Friday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and 2 hours prior to performance.
Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 in C minor “Organ Symphony” opens the concert and spotlights the world-famous Disney Hall Pipe Organ, considered one of the top six organs in the world by BBC Music Magazine’s Classical-Music.com. Disney Hall Organ Conservator Philip Allan Smith will play the 6,134-pipe organ towering above the rear of the stage that was designed by architect Frank Gehry in consultation with organ consultant and tonal designer Manuel Rosales and built by German organ builder Glatter-Götz. The Organ Symphony received wild applause and entered the canon of musical masterpieces when it premiered in London in 1886. Its beautiful finale is heard in the 1995 movie “Babe” and also at Disney World’s Epcot Center.
Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” – a tale told in music about an artist driven to madness by his vision of the perfect woman – is actually about the composer himself. In 1827, the 23-year-old Berlioz saw “Hamlet” performed in Paris, with Irish actress Harriet Smithson as Ophelia. She was at the pinnacle of her career and from the moment he saw her, the man was completely obsessed, bombarding her with impassioned letters. “Symphonie Fantastique” is his attempt to attract the actress’ attention. She finally gave in and they were married in 1833, but it didn’t last. Even after their divorce, Berlioz continued to take care of her and she was eventually buried with him (and his second wife) in a Paris cemetery.
Selections from the mega-hit musical “Les Miserables” will be performed by “Les Mis” Broadway star Randal Keith and Anne Martinez, accompanied by the 150-voice Cal Phil Chorale, director, Marya Basaraba. Keith was selected by “Les Mis” producer Cameron Mackintosh and played the role of Jean Valjean in nearly 3,000 performances on Broadway and on the National Tour, as well as in Canada, China and South Korea.